Searching in vain for a scandal that isn’t there

Searching in vain for a scandal that isn't there
Searching in vain for a scandal that isn't there
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hosted an event in his home state yesterday, ostensibly about immigration policy, before repeating one of his favorite talking points. “I’m glad you got up Benghazi,” the senator told a constituent. “My friends, it’s a cover-up.”

McCain neglected to explain what “it” is. “It’s” a cover-up? What’s a cover-up?

When he appeared on “Meet the Press” recently, host David Gregory asked this simple question: “A cover-up of what?” McCain turned belligerent and dodged the question.

It’s been that kind of controversy for months – Republicans and Fox News continue to ask questions that have already been answered, and continue to insist there’s an amorphous scandal hiding just out of sight, which they can neither identify nor explain. What’s more, they just can’t let go.

Pressure is mounting on House Republican leaders to form a special committee to investigate the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Proponents of a special panel maintain that the five committee chairmen currently leading the House GOP’s ongoing Benghazi investigation are too concerned with protecting their turf.

Just to clarify, there was an independent investigation of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, led in part by the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There have been multiple hearings in the House and Senate, spanning a half-dozen committees. House Republicans even produced a strange report of their own.

But now House Republicans not only want more hearings, they want a special panel to launch another investigation. Why? To answer unresolved questions. And which questions are unresolved? They haven’t the foggiest idea, but seem to think a special committee might find something useful anyway.

I get the sense Republicans realize how absurd all of this is, but can’t seem to help themselves. They’ve already fallen down the rabbit hole, and apparently don’t see the point of trying to crawl back up. Indeed, why bother? Fox and the party base are still engaged, and maybe GOP policymakers can squeeze another few fundraising letters out of this fiasco.

To help prime the pump, Fox – which has never even tried to do much in the way of original reporting and clearly isn’t good at it – is now talking up a secret, unnamed source that has inside information about a military team that was in Croatia during the attack on the consulate, and could have been dispatched to the scene after the raid. This information is just coming out now, Fox claims, because everyone other than the secret source is afraid of Obama – the president the right believes is both a weak pushover and a ruthless thug.

Is there anything to these new un-sourced allegations? No. In fact, Foreign Policy published an interesting item from Billy Birdzell, a retired Marine Corps infantry officer and special operations team leader, responding to Fox’s secret informant.

Even if the CIF was on ready 5 (fully armed, sitting in the aircraft with pilots at the controls) in Sigonella (the closest European base to Benghazi) with advanced warning of an attack but unsure of the time, and they launched at 2232 on only-in-Hollywood orders from someone other than the president, they would not have been able to do anything about Stevens and Smith’s deaths, nor stopped the mortar rounds. Strike three.

The person in the [Fox News] interview is a clown.

Will this interfere with the hunt for the Republicans’ white whale? Of course not – there will be more House hearings next week.


Searching in vain for a scandal that isn't there